Shadow housing minister and patron of The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness, Teresa Pearce MP, has responded very positively to our open letter calling on Labour to commit to ending homelessness.
In her own letter to The Guardian, Teresa writes:
“Each person sleeping rough is a sign that our society has fallen short, and successive governments have pledged to tackle homelessness. Labour has always been committed to ending homelessness, indeed under the last Labourgovernment it fell by 62%. Yet under this Tory government rough sleeping has doubled and homelessness is up by a third. Behind each figure lies the story of individual suffering, whether it is rough sleepers huddled together in doorways, or those placed in emergency accommodation with their children by their local council, unsure of where else to turn or what is next. This is the harsh end of the housing crisis and we must fight it.
It is Labour that is tackling rising homelessness, in government in Wales and in Labour-led local authorities up and down the country. And in parliament, it is Labour that is exposing the Tories’ failure on homelessness. The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness appeal (Letter, 17 August) is a welcome intervention. It is right that Labour recommits itself to ending homelessness and explores proposals to provide greater support to those facing homelessness.
Figures from the charity Crisis show that two-thirds of councils attribute the rise in homelessness directly to government policy on welfare reform – from the bedroom tax to the cap on housing benefit. The communities and local government select committee has just released a report on homelessness with wide-ranging recommendations (Report, 18 August). The government urgently needs a clear plan to help those currently homeless and to address the root causes of homelessness. Failure to do so would be a betrayal of some of our society’s most vulnerable.”
Teresa was one of our earliest supporters and has been steadfast in her commitment to our campaign. We hugely appreciate her backing our call for Labour to end homelessness.
We look forward to continuing to work with her over the coming years.